Neymar Jr's Five Tournament

Right in the heart of Shoreditch lies 13 outdoor pitches – you’d never have guessed they were there – which played host to Neymar Jr’s Five tournament on 25th March. The Brazilian superstar’s brainchild is a series of knockout five-a-side matches (in rounds) where the winning teams get to participate in the world final in Brazil this summer. This year was the first time that female teams- made up of friends, university teams, even ex-Sunday league footballers- were able to participate, a long overdue but much-needed move that attracted us that afternoon. About to Get Messi, Dreamgirls, Eagles, Phoenix, Goldsmiths Hunnies, SOAS Warriors, LMU 5 and Intergirls were the teams who played each other knockout style to progress to the national final in Birmingham. The other women's round took place in Cardiff.

For the uninitiated, five-a-side is completely different to traditional 11-a-side. Apart from the obvious smaller pitches, the main difference is that it is more technical, more fast-paced, and more full-throttle. Matches are played in 10-minute intervals and every time a team scores a goal, an opposition team member is forced to lose a player. The atmosphere flicked back and forth from excited, nervous and affable energy to cut-throat competition. LMU 5 eventually beat the Eagles and then SOAS Warriors in the quarters. Phoenix registered a win against Intergirls to also go through. They’ll face each other later this spring and before the day was done, we caught up with some of women who took part.

Words Cady Siregar

Photography Dainyika Jackson